Prior to the June 2nd Grand Opening of the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum, President Billy Johnson, Sec/Treas Bob Neill, and Director Gaila Oliver were sort-of-frantically trying to get the correct names of the hundreds of antique fishing lures which had been collected to go in the special display case that used to be the old hardware store’s nut and bolt bin. Billy had the idea of cleaning out that pigeon-holed bin, painting it a light color, and using the holes for display of the lures.
The process was working thisaway: Gaila was writing Billy’s (the Fishing Expert) dictation of names and makers of the lures, then sending those in two pages to the next-door Museum Office where Uncle Bob was typing the labels and sending them back to be stuck under the correct holes to identify the artifacts. The Runner betwixt and between was Unc’s 8-year-old GrandBoy, Leiton Irwin.
Understand this was going on late Wednesday afternoon before the Grand Opening Friday morning. We’d all been working 15-hour days for a couple of weeks. Hard to concentrate, short tempers, senior moments — all were the Order of the Day.
When Expert Billy couldn’t come up with the names of a couple of lures, it delayed Gaila’s listing, and Leiton was right there ready to run that list to his Grunk (Granddaddy Uncle Bob, shortened), the boy waited while The Expert fussed about he couldn’t “remember nothing no more!” Then the youngster held out his hand and asked, “Can I see those?”
“Yeah, sure, Kid! Take the dang things!” Billy handed them over, hooks and all.
And the 8-year-old declared, ” This one’s a Crazy Crawler, by Heddon, and this one… is a Jitterbug, by Arbogast.” He handed the lures back to the nearly speechless Fishing Lure Expert.
Billy blinked and stuttered, “How did YOU know that, Boy??!!”
And Leiton pointed out innocently: “The name is stamped on the bottom of all these lures.”
Ahhh, Youth! We finished the rest of the exhibit in jig time! (Excuse the pun!)


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